B2B ID: Brian Risler, branch manager, Residential Mortgage Services, Easthampton
NAME: Brian Risler
JOB TITLE, COMPANY, CITY IT IS BASED IN: Branch Manager, Residential Mortgage Services, Easthampton
WHAT YOU DO: We provide home loans to area families and investors for purchasing and refinancing residential property. We finance primary homes, vacation homes and investment properties; single-family, multi-family and condominium. We help people understand their readiness to buy a home based on credit history, ongoing income, personal savings and other factors. We focus on the lowest-cost financing available.
EXPERIENCE: I’ve been in the business for 13 years, including seven years managing other lenders. I’ve personally funded 1,000 home loans and overseen 4,000 more.
THE MARKET: People buying their first home, transferring into the area, trading up to a larger home or downsizing. We also work with investors buying a home for rental or to renovate and resell.
HOW YOU REACH OUT: On a person-to-person basis, by word of mouth. We stay in touch with past customers, friends and family. We work with real estate agents and attorneys to provide financing for clients purchasing a home. We work with CPAs, tax preparers and financial planners whose clients need mortgage advice.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? Opening a new office is expensive. We’ve invested in renovating and furnishing our space. Fortunately, we already had three experienced mortgage consultants working in the area, and their early success has helped offset a great deal of the expense.
KEY TO SUCCESS: I work in my business and on my business every day. I’m always adjusting the business based on experience and feedback.
CHALLENGES: Staffing our new office is key. Good lenders combine strong interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to quickly analyze financial circumstances. We’re continuously looking for good people who fit the organizational culture.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: In my previous role, I worked for a national bank that had strong brand recognition, competitive loan products and sophisticated marketing. I wanted to put those resources to work for home buyers in the Pioneer Valley. Instead, I learned that the bank’s size and complexity interfered with delivering a speedy, efficient experience that clients expect.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: There’s an expression about a turtle resting on top of a fencepost — he didn’t get there on his own. Neither did I. We’ve all had a lot of help from others in achieving whatever success we claim. It’s a good thing to remember.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: My wife, Laurie, is my best advocate. We’ve been married 28 years, and she has exceptional people skills and insight. After her, my first manager, Joe Grigelevich, was my best mentor. He’s retired now, but I often think about how hard he drove for success, but always with a human touch.
TOP GOALS FOR 2014: Residential Mortgage Services has a formula for success making it the fourth largest residential purchase lender in Massachusetts.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Ask yourself: What factors drive your business success? What numbers do you need in which buckets to be successful? Measure your progress by those numbers and make adjustments as you go.
PARTING THOUGHT: Better than having answers, ask great questions. Be curious.
The B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle of Beetle Press in Easthampton, a PR and communications firm. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at firstname.lastname@example.org.